The California Horse Racing Board issued a conditional license Wednesday to Pat Valenzuela, the oft-suspended jockey who is eligible to ride today at Santa Anita.
The new license, which expires at the end of the year, was issued after Valenzuela's suspension, handed out by Del Mar stewards in August, was overturned on appeal by an administrative law judge. The racing board accepted the judge's opinion after a hearing at Santa Anita on Friday.
Neil Papiano, Valenzuela's attorney, said he was satisfied with the latest license's conditions, which are said to be stricter than before. Valenzuela, who led all five Southern California meets in 2003, the last year he rode full-time, has a long history of drug problems.
"To our knowledge, these are the strictest conditions ever imposed on a licensee in racing," said Pete Pedersen, the senior steward at Santa Anita. "I know of none more exacting."
One of the provisions of the license is hair-strand testing for drugs and alcohol. Valenzuela agreed to allow the hair on his head to be at least 1 1/2 inches in length. Hair-testing experts say that the longer a person's hair, the further back in time drugs can be detected. In July, Valenzuela appeared for a test with a shaved body, prompting state investigators to say that he lacked enough hair for a test. That led to his suspension.
Valenzuela also agreed Wednesday to be tested when he rides in other states.
Because entries already had been drawn for races today and Friday, the only way Valenzuela can ride is as a replacement. Papiano said that Valenzuela hoped to be named on some horses when entries are drawn today for Saturday's card.
Coolmore Stud's auction of one-time breeding rights to 50 of its stallions has raised more than $3 million for tsunami-ravaged countries in Southeast Asia. The breeding rights brought $2.2 million, and another $1.2 million came from an unidentified donor who called himself a "friend of Coolmore."
The stallions are based at Coolmore farms in Kentucky, Ireland and Australia. Many of them brought prices that were higher than their listed breeding fees. A breeding to Sadler's Wells drew the highest bid, $393,480 from Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farm. The stud fee for Sadler's Wells, Europe's leading stallion for a record 13 years, is privately negotiated. Bob and Janice McNair paid $170,000 for a breeding to Fusaichi Pegasus in Kentucky. That's $20,000 higher than the listed fee this year for the Kentucky Derby winner.